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Faces of Death (1978)

3.9
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Ratings: 3.9/10 from 4,165 users  
Reviews: 86 user | 30 critic

A collection of death scenes, ranging from TV-material to home-made super-8 movies The common factor is death by some means.

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(as Conan Le Cilaire)
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Cast

Credited cast:
Michael Carr ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Samuel Berkowitz ...
Himself - Cryogenics patient
Mary Ellen Brighton ...
Herself - suicide victim shown jumping out of a window
Thomas Noguchi ...
Himself
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Storyline

A 'mockumentary' hosted by Dr. Francis B. Gross, a coroner. He is trying to show you the different 'faces' of people while dying. There are faked scenes of people getting killed intermixed with footage of real accidents. There are executions by decapitation (in an unknown Arab country) and the electric chair. One scene shows a group of tourists in Egypt smashing a monkey's head while still alive and eating its brains. There are shots of animals eating people and Satanic orgies using dead bodies. There is a segment that deals with an alligator that accidentally entered 'residential' waters. The local warden goes in his boat to get the crocodile back into the sea when he accidentally falls over and becomes gator bait. The film ends with newsreel footage of people jumping off buildings and major accidents. Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Banned in 46 Countries!


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

10 November 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Original Faces of Death  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$450,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

The electrocution scene was faked in a loft of one of the filmmakers' friend's house. The foam from the mouth was toothpaste. See more »

Goofs

After the farmer chops off the roosters head, she hacks the ax back into the stump and it sticks in at a perfectly straight angle. Then it is suddenly sticking out at a horizontal angle. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Francis B. Gröss: Do the animals know they are going to die? The men who kill them claim they don't. But when the machinery begins to rumble and the conveyor belts start to roll, sounds that expedite death are heard by animal and man alike.
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the end of the film, the credits say "Special thanks to the mummies of Guanajuato, Mexico" See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: Time of the Apes (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

Jesus Doesn't Live Here Anymore
Music by Gene Kauer
Lyrics by Richard McAndrews and Robert C. Wayne
Sung by Robert C. Wayne
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
'The country of Africa'?
16 May 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Real open-heart surgery footage opens this bogus mockumentary, about Dr. Francis B. Gross' journey, which took him "around the world in search of an understanding of death. Many years ago I was plagued with a recurring dream....." Segue that into a mock dream sequence, then into a fairly interesting bit about the mummies of Guanajuato, Mexico; and the infamous monkey brain-eating sequence, which was later reused ad nauseam. As effectively gruesome and simultaneously goofball as this scene is, multiple camera angels reveal it to be staged.

Dog-fighting follows (ugh) As an animal lover, I found this sequence to be more revolting than the open heart surgery.

Our host, narrator Dr. Francis B. Gross, keeps using the word "my", when he says "my travels" etc., but curiously, his presence is only in voice-over narration, he is never shown in any of the footage of, for example, the Maasai people in the Serengeti Plain. While the Maasai may be real, the Iboro (sp?) in the Amazon appear to be completely bogus, as I can find no mention of any tribe with that name. Complete with multiple camera angles and edits, it looks more like a 1970s jungle/ exploitation flick than authentic jungle footage, and it looks more like New Guinea, than the Amazon.

The alligator attack scene, featuring a cameo appearance by Mr. Chia Pet hair from "channel 9 news", balding, and with the (thankfully rare) male cameltoe, during the alligator attack, was obviously staged. No other identification is given as far as, let's say, "Channel 9 News in Miami" or a station id, something like "WXXX Channel 9 News". It doesn't display the interviewer's name or the names of the people he's interviewing, and they keep editing away from the actual gator attack. I counted at least 23 cuts in that 45 seconds long scene, which was most impressive, considering there was only one cameraman from channel 9 on scene.

We are introduced to assassin Francois Jordan, whose voice is distorted, and he is wearing a black mask over his head and face. Why did they bother to distort this alleged assassin's voice and face if they tell us his name is Francois Jordan?

Gross mentions Gary Mark Gilmore's Utah execution in 1977 (which was real) but he claims the gas chamber was introduced in California in 1938. Wrong. It was introduced in Nevada in 1924. Larry DeSilva's faked execution follows, lamely.

The bear attack was more funny than frightening, because it was so badly staged and obviously faked: again, multiple quick cuts and camera angles could not have been achieved

Nature runs amok in Wilkes-Barre, PA, in 1972; tornadoes, volcanoes, wildfires, etc. segues into pompous, incredibly cheesy singing about conservation, with apparently the filmmakers' girlfriend in a green top and white shorts receiving quite a lot of screen time, as a protester allegedly sets himself on fire to protest something or other.

Stunt driver's accident was comically bad. The clapperboard reads "Hell Raisin'", which should be an indication as to how real the footage is. (The rest of the information on the clapperboard is illegible) A real collision of 727 with small aircraft over San Diego lends a slight bit of credibility to otherwise mostly bogus claims of authenticity.

The portions of the movie dealing with real slaughterhouses, cryogenic freezing and rioting, again, are fairly graphic, but again they're done in a documentary type of way, and have more story to go with the gore, unlike some of this film's later ripoffs.

There is more of a story to go along with the gore and shocks here. Granted, it doesn't make much sense and is rarely believable, but that's part of the fun. Exploitive, nonsensical fun, which held my attention from start to finish, as I watched this on video as a teenager many times.

This isn't for those with a weak stomach, but watch it in the same frame of mind you would watch "National Geographic" on safari in Africa or something like that and it can be fun for fans of gore, and unintentionally funny cinema. (Note to the producers: in one scene the narrator refers to 'the country of Africa' - Africa is a continent, not a country)


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